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New to here - some help appreciated...

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Hi to all - new to this forum.

My wife and I are thinking of buying in France and maybe moving over, part time to begin with but maybe permanent in the future. Just the 2 of us - no kids.

We are just starting out on this venture - and have a property to look at via a friend, quite near to La Trenche sur Mer in the Vendee - going next month for a week to look around.

Can anyone give me any tips or help of what I should be looking at - places to see - things to take into account etc...so that we get the best out of our trip over there.

Thanks Phil
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Hello Phil and welcome to the forum.

I am sure lots of members will be along to suggest you check with the local Mairie/Hotel de Ville (village office/town hall) for plans to drive a motorway through your front path, or install a new sewage treatment plant next door, etc. The French lawyer does not do any searches on your behalf, so that side of things is down to you.

It's important to opt for the correct sort of marriage regime when purchasing. I can't tell you whether "séparation des biens" or "communauté des biens" is the best, but I am sure somebody here will advise.

Make sure the house is not in a floodable area. There was a terrible tragedy ten years or so ago when a whole housing estate at La Faute-sur-Mer - just along the coast - was submerged, with great loss of life, as the development had been permitted at too low a level.

Might be useful to bring copies of your birth, marriage and, if applicable, divorce certificates with you; the French are always wanting to see such things for anything official.

La TrAnche, being a seaside resort, can be VERY busy in summer and, of course, extra-quiet in winter. You might be OK with that of course.

Not sure what you mean by "places to see"; but if you mean touristically, there is a book on the county by someone with a name similar to mine...


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[quote user="PhilAJ"]

My wife and I are thinking of buying in France and maybe moving over ...[/quote]

As always in my view it is sensible to try before you buy and rent first. That way you can find out about the ins and outs of actually living in France and whether the life is for you before investing a lot of money.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Whilst you may feel this is somewhat negative, the advice about renting first is spot on.  And secondly, think about re-sale if / when you wish to leave ... there are several of us here on this forum who have had trouble selling our first choice of house due to the economic climate, but also the less mobile home market in France compared with the UK.

Other than that, advice to sort out the legalities, and the financing of it and your stays here, long before you buy, is very sensible.  The French legal system if not approached with good advice to show you the differences between the UK and here could end up giving you a nightmare scenario. Never assume that it will be the same as in the UK - because it almost always is not.  Getting it wrong can seriously impede almost anything you might want to do in the future!

Look also at succession, inheritance and wills - for unless your situation is excessively straightforward, you could also end up in a big pickle there, with huge costs and people inheriting who you do not wish to do so. 

It's a lovely dream, which many of us have already followed, but in hindsight, maybe we would not have done it as we did.  Being wise after the event is to be avoided, so research, research, research - not just the sort of house and area you'd like to have, but all the ramifications of owning a house in France.

Final warning, though it may seem a very complicated process just at the moment to you, it is 100% times easier to buy than to sell in France.  Be warned!

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It is a sobering thought, but when selling a house in France you need to obtain a price of at least 20% higher than you paid, just to break even, as French buying and selling costs are much higher than the UK. Add to the equation that most expert forecasts anticipate French property prices continuing to fall for the foreseeable future, especially in rural areas, then there is a strong argument for renting over buying until you are certain your French location is the right choice, which means being there all year round to experience a French Winter!
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